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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  March 18, 2013 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the majority leader is recognized. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask there be order in the senate. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. mr. reid: madam president, i have one unanimous consent request for a committee to meet during today's session of the senate, both senator mcconnell and i have approved this. i ask unanimous consent this
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request be agreed to and printed in the record. madam president, i am going to propound a unanimous consent request. everyone has to look at this from way up high and understand how much has been accomplished during the last week. senator mikulski and senator shelby have worked very hard to change the bill that came from the house of representatives, and they've done a good job, a really good job. people have requested further changes to the bill. and we've tried hard, i say we, i've talked to senator mcconnell many times, senator mikulski, senator shelby and others, trying to come up with some way to move forward on this
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legislation. there's a big spotlight on the united states senate to see if we can do something. whatever we come up with, what mikulski and shelby have -- what they've come up with is not perfect. i could improve it. the senator from tennessee could improve it. anyone in this body could improve what they did but they did the best they could. and it was hard. these two senators both gave up stuff that helps them in their states. they've worked together, commerce state justice for many years, they know that subcommittee better than anyone has ever known that subcommittee. they both have many things within their states that are affected by that subcommittee. but they gave things up for the greater good. i'm asking senators here to give up a few things for the greater good. to try to allow us to get this
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done, because the reason this is important is that it will allow us to go forward and start having appropriation bills. changed the rules at the beginning of the year to make it eer easier to go to certain bills and what we had in mind was appropriation bills. this has been really hard to come up with this. i repeat, is it really, really good? no, probably not, but it's not bad. so, madam president, i would hope that we could do -- approve this unanimous consent request. we would have nine votes on matters that people feel are really important. there are other people who have things that are just as important, but this is legislation. the art of compromise. so, madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the two
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cloture motions be withdrawn, if following amendments be in order to the mikulski-shelby substitute, coburn number 69, coburn number 93, coburn number 65 as modified with the changes that at the desk, coburn number 70 as modified with the changes that are at the desk, inhofe number 7 as modified with changes teafng, grassley number 76 as modified with changes that are at the desk, mikulski-shelby number 978, leahy number 129 as modified with changes at the desk, pryor-blunt number 82 and no other first-degree amendments to the substitute or underlying bill be in order and no second-degree amendments be in order to any of the amendments prierpt the vote, there be 30 minutes equally divided between the two leaders or their designees prior to votes in relation to the amendments in the order listed, upon the disposition of leahy amendment number 129 as modified, the durbin second-degree amendment to the toomey amendment 115 be withdrawn, that all amendments
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be subject to a 60 affirmative vote threshold, the senate proceed to vote to the toomey amendment 115, upon disposition of the toomey amendment the senate vote on the mikulski-shelby amendment as amend he, the senate proceed to vote on the people of the bill as amended. it's my understanding that the toomey amendment has a point of order against it. is that right? a senator: yes. mr. reid: okay. that's my consent request. the presiding officer: is there an objection? a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire is recognized. ms. ayotte: madam president, i reserve the right to object. i have filed an amendment, i filed it last week, it's a reasonable amendment that both sides have been aware of. it is one that is also germane. it is to strike funding, $380 million in funding from the
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continuing resolution for a missile defense missile program that will never protect a single war fighter, the medium extended air defense system. in fact, it's been called the missile to nowhere and my amendment would transfer those funds to operation and maintenance so that they could be used for our war fighters, particularly as sequestration is pending for real purposes instead of a program we will never realize anything from that will protect our war fighters. so i reserve the right to object , madam president. a senator: madam president? mr. reid: the senator has not objected, is that right? ms. ayotte: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. reid: madam president, i regret --. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: it's over with. i regret the senator has objected to this reasonable request. it really is reasonable.
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i understand the senator from new hampshire, how strongly she feels about this issue and i'm aware of the issue. i understand it very well. i have talked to a number of senators, i can't get them to agree to this. they may be wrong, she may be right, she may be wrong, they may be right, i can't make that decision. i can't go forward if somebody doesn't agree to that. so putting together a unanimous consent agreement like this as i've already indicated certainly hasn't been easy. the people i feel really some -- i have empathy for are these two senators here, madam president. they are veteran legislators -- legislators, they've dedicated a large part of the last to two weeks to this legislation. he could just vote what the house sent it us. all the work they've done down the drain and there are scores of senators -- and i say that plural, source of the hundred senators who have benefited from
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the work that they have done. it's helped them in their states. it's rearranged things. what they have done doesn't spend any more money. we are spending the same amount of money the house did but the house was very emphatic. they would not allow flexibility in nondefense matters. they have some control over what we do. so i just think it's such a shame that there's an objection preventing the senate from being able to consider these amendments. there are nine amendments here, madam president. this is a must-pass measure. so we'll need to move this bill through the senate back to the house to avoid a government shutdown. i just think it's a shame. but that's where we are. i ask unanimous consent, madam president, that the senator from maryland, senator mikulski, be recognized for up to five minutes and the senator from alabama be recognized for
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up to five minutes prior to the vote on cloture. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. moran: madam president, reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: had the senator from new hampshire objected to the previous request for unanimous consent i would have objected, and i want to use this moment to point out that an amendment that is in my view so critical to the air safety of our country, the traveling public's ability to feel secure and safe in their travel, is not included in the -- was not included in the request for unanimous consent. this is an amendment that would transfer money to transfer money to allow the air traffic control tower program to continue. and while the majority leader has requested that there be managmagnimity, reasonable viewn
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this, in the absence of this being included, come april 7, those air traffic control towers are closed and even i as a member of the appropriations committee will have no ability to turn -- reverse course once they are closed. and so this program faces an immediate deadline. and so, madam president, had the senator from new hampshire not objected previously to the unanimous consent request, i would have for those -- on that basis. i have no objection to the request that time be given to the chair and the ranking member of the committee. mr. reid: mr. president, my consent has been agreed to but die say this in response to my friend from kansas. you know, mr. president, everyone could get up here and give a heart-rending speech. we have tens of thousands of children who won't be eligible for head start. that's pretty compelling, i would think. and many, many other things that people in this body could stand up and give a tear-jerker just like he tried to do. that's what this is about.
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compromise. we're trying to work through this so we can continue funding the government and set up a pattern in the next -- this congress so we can have appropriation bills for 2014. the presiding officer: is there objection to the request? without objection, so ordered. ms. mikulski: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: madam president, i rise to ask all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote for cloture on the senate bill. i want to say to my colleagues, and if i could just have quiet in the chamber. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. ms. mikulski: and i want to say to my colleagues, we've come very far on this bill. and we, as of thursday, had 126 amendments. now, i love the senate and we love to talk and we love to
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amend. and everyone has in many instances outstanding ideas to improve the bill. we are now at the point where we have dueling amendments, we have matters of policy to discuss, but we are now at the point where the bill must really come to close. that's why we proposed this limited number of amendments. to my colleagues that had amendments on the issue related to fle flexibility, like the ser from kansas, if i could have his attention. it's not that we dispute what his airports are going to face. it's not what our poultry farmers are going to face. and on both sides of the aisle, whether it's blunt of missouri, whether it's isakson of georgia, pryor or boozman of arkansas, mikulski and cardin of maryland. chicken is the mainstay of our eastern shore.
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we all are facing these. in my original underlying bill, i had a 1% transfer authority, subject to the approval of congress, that would have solved all these problems. it was the other chamber and even those on the other side of the aisle that insisted that i remove that from this bill. so for all who wanted flexibility, i wanted to fix it. we couldn't fix it. believe me, i wanted to fix it. each and every one of these individual amendments have merit in and of themselves. but we are now at the point where we have to decide whether you want the senate bill to stand and be voted on, with further amendment, subject to the parliamentarian determining what is germane and, therefore, eligible for consideration, or do you want the house bill? it's as simple as that. and i want to say, we've come so far. i want to thank the vice chairman, senator shelby, and his staff and all of the clerks
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on the other side of the aisle for working so assiduously. now, mr. chairman -- i mean, excuse me, mr. president, we have to decide, do we want to make the perfect the enemy of the good? do we want to have a bill that really substantially improves the house bill, does not accomplish every objective that we want but, in fact, does do several things? one, avoid a government shutdown. avoid a government shutdown. say what, senator mikulski? avoid a government shutdown. we could actually show that we could govern. we could actually govern. we could actually pass a bill that i believe the house will accept as well. hallelujah. this and of itself would be a major accomplishment. we will have taken the house bill and we will have made substantial improvements that i think both sides of the aisle
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agree are important. we could get that done. the question is: can both sides of this chamber take "yes" for an answer? if we take "yes" for an answer, we, again, avoid the government shutdown, show we could govern and have made substantial improvement in areas both in defense and national security but in other areas with people who wear -- who protect us, whether it's in border control, whether it is in food safety. do we get what we want? no. but we do get a bill that we can feel that we have done a major, marijuanmajor -- a major, major accomplishment. i could go through item by item. i've got a speech that would take me 20 minutes to go through. i'm not going to go through it. but i am going to say to my colleagues, where you have both sides of the aisle that have worked together, where we have
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worked for the common good, the security of the country, meeting compelling human need, investments in research and technology, i think we ought to say "yes" and vote to move to cloture on the senate bill. mr. shelby: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. shelby: mr. president, i want to repeat what -- to some extent what senator mikulski just said. number one, this would avoid a government shutdown. that should appeal to everybody. i think it appeals to the american people. it should appeal to everybody in this body tonight. secondly, it enforces the budget control act and sequester leve levels. yes, again, enforces the budget control act and sequester levels. granted, it's perhaps not everything's ideal, but what is here? there will be ample time to address many of the issues. some of the issues have been raised are bona fide issues that we were unable to address, for one reason or another, in this
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process. but i assure my colleagues -- and i've been working with my colleagues and with senator mikulski's democratic colleagu colleagues -- if we do not move forward, i'm afraid that there may be no future appropriation bills, which isn't good for anyone in this legislative process. we've lurched from crisis to crisis and now the -- if we don't do it, the c.r.'s running out. what we're asking to do is to fund the government till september the 30th. i urge my colleagues to support cloture and move this process forward. thank you, mr. president. ms. mikulski: mr. president, just one final word, if i may. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: just to be clear on what this vote is. this ithis is addition -- the fn cloture on the senate bill. if this vote on cloture fails, we will go to the house bill. that will be the vote. we have two choices tonight, two
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paths under which we can go down. we can go down the senate path that is bipartisan -- bipartisan -- in its approach, that it is a good bill, a solid bill. and if it goes down, though, we will immediately go to cloture on the house bill. if that passes, then all of our work, everything will be -- we will essentially, as united states senators, just simply be rubber-stamping what the house sent us. so the path and choice is ours. i intend to vote "aye" on the senate bill and urge all my colleagues on my side of the aisle to follow my lead and i know senator shelby feels the same about his. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the -- mr. moran: mr. president? mr. president? ask unanimous consent -- the presiding officer: no further debate is in order. mr. moran: ask unanimous consent to address the senate. a senator: object. the presiding officer: objection
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is heard. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the mikulski shy o-shelby subste amendment, number 26, as modified, to h.r. 933, a bill making appropriations for the department of defense, the department of veterans affairs and other departments and agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2013, and for other purposes. signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is: is it the sense of the senate that debate on amendment number 26, offered by the senator from nevada, mr. reid, to h.r. 933, making appropriations for the department of defense, the department of veterans affairs, and other departments and agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2013, and for other purposes shall be brought to a close?
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the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. mr. reid: mr. president? mr. president? mr. president? that was an amendment offered by reid on behalf of shelby and mikulski. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? on this vote, the yeas are 63, the nays are 35. 3/5 of the senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to. the senator from montana. mr. baucus: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that i be permitted to speak up to ten minutes, following my remarks that senator murray, granted up to ten minutes and then senator boxer be recognized. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. baucus: mr. president, this month, we mark the tenth anniversary of the united states-led invasion of iraq. with more veterans per capita than nearly any other state -- the presiding officer: the
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senate will come to order. the senator from montana. mr. baucus: thank you, mr. president. with more veterans per capita than nearly any other state, montanans proudly answer when dutily calls. the book of john, chapter 15, verse 13, says greater love hath no man than this than that a man lay down his life for his friends. on this anniversary, remember the montanans and all americans who laid down their lives in the name of freedom. on my family ranch near wolf creek, montana, there is a willow tree that sways in the wind that stretches in the sun. on july 29, 2006, my nephew marine corporal phillip baucus was killed during combat operations in iraq's al-anbar
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province. he was just 28 years old. he was laid to rest on the same mountain where my father lies. the same branch where he had married his lovely katherine less than a year earlier. phillip was a bright and dedicated young man. he was like a son to me. my brother john and i planted that willow tree on the ranch in memory of phillip. we also planted a pine tree nearby. i'm not the only montanan who has grieved. 40 montanans have lost their lives in iraq and afghanistan. we grieve for them all. we miss them all. we must honor their courage by living up to the ideals they died to defend. we must also honor their sacrifice by supporting the troops who come home forever changed. thousands come home with traumatic brain injuries, pose
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traumatic stress disorder and other. make no mistake, we have taken important steps to see that veterans receive the care they need when they come home. we work for a strong post-9/11 g.i. bill to ensure thousands of veterans can go to college. we also fought -- the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the senator from montana. mr. baucus: i thank the chair. we also fought to make sure the v.a. is fairly and adequately supporting our student veterans. yet it remains a disgrace that unemployment rates among veterans exceed that of nonveterans. in montana, unemployment among iraq and afghan vets stands at 17.5%. that's the fourth highest rate for the country. since the iraq war began, i have hired veterans to help draft policies that honor the sacrifices of our military. my staff has worked with me to
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draft the original tax credit for businesses that hire veterans, and i'm honored to see that has been adopted by this congress and the president. we have spearheaded efforts to improve mental health screenings for all branches of the military based on montana's strong model for catching the warning signs of ptsd. we started that in montana. it is now incorporated as national defense policy. in the last ten years, our nation has also been fighting terrorists in afghanistan. as we reflect on the costs of the war in iraq, we know that now is the time for afghans to take responsibility for their own country. in 2013, $97 billion will go to the war in afghanistan alone. do you know the money that's being spent in both iraq and afghanistan is enough to double the number of public elementary schools in the united states and rebuild the american interstate
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highway system five times over. dollars spent daily in afghanistan need to be spent on nation building here at home. i am proud that we are closer than ever to bringing all our troops home. it is not enough to just bring them back. we need to and can be doing a better job making sure our troops are ready to compete and win in the home front. that means making sure that the day they are discharged from service, they could transfer skills earned from the military into the civilian work force. my first order of business this year was to declare war on veterans' unemployment. troops who trained to do a job in the military should get civilian credentials tame. they shouldn't have to get recredentialed and retrained when they come home. if they got credentialed in the military, that should be sufficient for driving truck, et cetera. the effort is already under way for e.m.t.'s and truck drivers,
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but my vets act goes even further to cover military police, firefighters, air traffic controllers. in 2011, 1,000 iraq and afghanistan veterans were unemployed in montana. 240,000 unemployed nationwide. with 34,000 troops scheduled to come home from afghanistan next year, the time to get serious about tackling veterans' unemployment is now. we will never forget the montanans we have lost to combat in the middle east over the last ten years. they had big dreams. they looked forward to long, happy lives. they were volunteers. they were sons and daughters. they had children. they had dear friends. they grew up in small towns like fairfield, sand springs, phillipsburg and wolf creek. we hear their voices at little league games, the basketballling
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creeks of montana and -- in the babbling creeks of montana and the rustling willow trees we plant to remember them. we remember them in our hearts and our deeds. president lincoln concluded his second inaugural address in his call for the nation to -- quote -- "care for him who have borne the battle and for his wideo and his -- widow and his orphan. lincoln's charge remains our sacred duty today. 40 montanans we remember today left behind 28 children who will be growing up without them. i i want to applaud a group of montanans who are working to make sure those children can get an education in montana. grateful nation, montana, is a proud example for answering the call to serve, serving those who have proudly served us. their mission is to provide college scholarships at montana schools to sons and daughters of our fallen heroes.
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mr. president, we must remember our vets. to all our veterans and families of veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice, we want them to know that you are not alone. let us recommit ourselves to making sure our veterans come home safely to good-paying jobs to a nation that honors their sacrifices. mr. president, i'd like to speak on another important issue in my home state as we mark national ag week. president dwight d. eisenhower once said farming looks mighty easy when your plow's a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the cornfield. truer words were never spoken to describe the divide how agriculture is viewed between washington, d.c. and montana. agriculture is an essential part of who we are as montanans. 50% of montana's economy is tied
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to ranching and farming, supporting one in five jobs in montana. i had the privilege to grow up on a ranch outside helena, montana. it taught me firsthand the values of hard work, faith, family and doing what's right. those are the values i take to me with work every day. paul harvey, who got his start in broadcasting in montana, said it best in this poem, "so god made a farmer." "god looked down on the earth he created and said i need a caretaker for this world i made. and so god made a farmer. so as part of trying to bridge that divide between washington, d.c. and montana, i honor the strong legacy of farming and ranching montanans in montana by celebrating national ag day. those montana families involved
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in agriculture is so much more than a livelihood. it is a way of life. i'm honored to represent so many ranchers, so many farmers from montana who have dedicated their life to the land, providing the service that everyone in the world benefits from. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: mr. president, thank you. the bill that we are debating, the so-called continuing resolution, spends slightly more than $1 trillion between now and the end of the fiscal year. and as those who were either on the floor or watching a few moments ago discovered, the opportunity to amend this bill in even a minor fashion, though, in my view, an important fashion, was denied.
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so the united states senate, in passing the c.r., will spend more than $1 trillion, and we've had the opportunity to vote on two amendments, potentially three. that's the total extent of which 100 senators representing millions of americans have had the chance to influence the outcome, the content of a significant bill that spends lots of money. the amendment that i've been trying to offer, mr. president, in my view, is an important one. one of the things that the administration announced following sequestration was that the control tower program, which provides about 179 air traffic control towers across the country, would be eliminated. that's certainly of importance to those who fly. it's important to people in our states, rural america. but this is not just a rural issue. these control towers are located in large cities across our
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country. i've been trying to fashion why would the department of transportation, in a sense, single out this program? hard for me to fathom a good answer to that question, and as close as i can come is there are those in washington, d.c., who want to demonstrate that we can't cut a dime. we can't cut $85 billion from federal spending of $3.6 trillion spending program. we can't eliminate 28 days of spending at all. and to prove that point, they apparently want to target, want to single out programs that are the most important to americans. the idea that we would put at risk air traffic control tower program that is so important to the flying and traveling public is amazing to me. and again, it's not that i think that the sequestration and the 5% cut in this program could not be handled by the department of transportation, but that's not
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what the department of transportation is doing. in fact, the amendment that i hope to offer continues the sequestration, reduces the program's spending by 5%. but what the department of transportation is doing is eliminating the program, reducing the spending in this program by 75%. and, again, i can't figure out why this program of such importance would be treated in this fashion unless there are those who simply want to demonstrate that any time we try to reduce spending -- and it's actually not even reducing spending. the sequestration reduces the increase in spending. the only thing i can think of is there are those people who want to demonstrate here that we cannot do that without having huge consequences to the safety and security of americans. and in my view, that concept certainly is false. we can find savings. but beyond that, it's a dangerous game to play in trying to prove a point that we can't cut spending by putting at risk
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those who utilize air traffic control towers. and my frustration is -- is -- is increased by the fact that while we're spending all this money and the bill comes to the floor, i serve on the appropriations committee. i ought to have the opportunity to deal with this bill in the committee that i serve on. that hasn't happened. and so i think, what's my next opportunity since i didn't have it as a member of the senate appropriations committee. maybe i ought to find colleagues from across the aisle, from around the country, rural, urban, republican, democrat who would understand the value of this program. so i did that. we found 23 sponsors of a bill -- of this amendment. i think we could probably find more. but the point i want to make this evening is that 13 of those 23 are democrat sponsors. this place ought to function in a way -- we've been told, why can't we work together, why can't we find bipartisan ways to
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work together? 23 senators -- 12 republicans, 13 democrats -- come together and say this is a good amendment that needs to pass, and yet i have no opportunity to offer that amendment. i've had numerous members of the senate from both sides of the aisle, but especially democrat senators, visit with me tonight on the senate floor saying, moran, why can't you get this amendment made in order, it's a good amendment? i don't have a good answer for that question. we've worked hard with the chairperson and the ranking republican on the committee. we've worked across the aisle. we've worked with the leadership trying to make clear how important this amendment is. and yet we're going to spend more than a trillion dollars and one amendment that transfers $50 million from two accounts, from unencumbered balances and from research funds, to keep the air traffic control program alive and well is not in order. and, again, a member of the appropriations committee, my hope was that i could try to solve this problem in the normal
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appropriations process. we've talked about this tonight. the majority leader talked about getting back to the regular order and working appropriation bills. and presumably sometime this week, although as a result of this amendment not being made in order, it's going to be later in the week than expected, but sometime this week we'll get to the budget, and presumably we'll pass a budget, we'll go through the appropriation process. but here's the problem. i, as a member of the appropriations committee, and my colleagues who care about this program, who are -- serve on the committee, who serve in the senate, will have no opportunity to save this program. because the department of transportation, the united states department of transportation, is going to terminate this program on april the 7th. by the time we ever get to regular order, if and when we do, the program will be eliminated and we will have lost the only opportunity, which is now on this continuing resolution, to make certain that this program remains in place. and so if we ought -- if we do
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what we ought to do around here, if we come together and find a solution, we reach bipartisan agreement, we ought to have the opportunity to address $50 million out of a more than $1 trillion bill. and the idea that we would pass a $1 trillion appropriation bill with only allowing two, maybe three amendments is something that, again, sthawgz we've not got -- suggests that we've not got our order in the appropriate place. this is certainly important to folks across the country and it is something that deserves attention. it's something that deserves a vote. and it' it's something that the american public ought to insist that we not play the game of whether or not we can cut anything and put their safety at risk. so, mr. president, my plea to my colleagues tonight, having -- they have voted to advance this
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bill, cloture has been granted, which means that no amendments are in order. i would ask our colleagues to realize the importance of this amendment and potentially others that other members of the united states senate want to offer in order to improve and establish our priorities. and as the majority leader said, to demonstrate that we can govern. the majority leader talked tonight about proving to the american people that we can govern by passing this bill. it seems to me that governing is something more than just passing a continuing resolution without the opportunity for members of the united states senate to put their imprint on behalf of their constituents -- in my case, on behalf of kansans, but really on behalf of the american people. the air transportation system is essential to local communities. it's vital to our economic engine. it matters across the country. and this amendment, if -- if i'm
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allowed to offer it, would continue access to that system that has worked so well for so many communities across our country. my plea is that between now and when the 30 hours runs on the postcloture debate of this bill, that there are those in the senate who will work with me and others to see that the amendment process works and that we return to the days in which a senator has the ability to influence the outcome of important pieces of legislation. i thank the president. mrs. boxer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: mr. president, i've come to the floor to talk about a very important issue called climate change or climate disruption, but before i do, i want to address the issue that my colleague has raised. he did not want to stop debate on the continuing resolution
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bill because he wanted to offer an amendment to make sure that we cut somewhere else and keep the f.a.a. able to keep open air traffic control towers. now, as someone who fought a partial government shutdown that shut down the f.a.a. -- my friends on the republican side -- my present wasn't here then -- i can tell you, i was instrumental in making sure we passed that f.a.a. authorization bill. it was a great bill. and it breaks my heart to see this sequester in action. it breaks my heart. this is not the way to govern. but to come to this floor -- and i respect my colleague's point of view. i mean, he has a right to his opinion. but to say this is the only opportunity to stop the sequester is absolutely incorrect. the president has said he is ready to sit down with the
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republicans and pass a balanced plan that would fix the sequester, get the f.a.a. back up to snuff, take care of all of our problems that were caused because of the sequester and still do deficit reduction, get our budget toward balance. and if that happens, this sequester will end. not only for the f.a.a. my friend is right. this is ridiculous. but for the 70,000 children who are being cut out of head start. why isn't there more discussion about that? when we know every dollar invested in a child, in head start, saves $10 because they get that head start in life. and where's the outrage of the h.i.v. -- 421,000 fewer h.i.v. tests? that's a public health emergency when 421,000 people can't get
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their h.i.v. tests, they don't know if they're h.i.v. positive. they could spread the virus. that's what's happening with this sequester. 10,500 lost teacher jobs. 2,700 will lose title 1 funds. that's a million kids who are getting special reading help because of this sequester. i think we all agree, the sequester is no way to govern. we can get to pay balanced budget without a sequester. we did that under bill clinton. we had a balanced approach. we made investments in our people. we cut out unnecessary spending. and we had a fair tax code. so, you know, i could go on with the problems. 25,000 fewer women will get breast cancer screenings. and i could offer an amendment on that. i want to offer an amendment on that, but i understand, we have to keep the government running. and that's what this continuing resolution does.
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and i praise the republicans on the other side that crossed over to vote with democrats. thank you very, very much for seeing that we can't turn this bill into everyone's favorite, you know, amendment to restore something that is cut because of the sequester that none of us ever thought was going to move forward. and i want to repeat this. my friend talks about the f.a.a. i agree with him. i hope he would agree with me on head start, on teachers, on title 1, on h.i.v. tests, on breast cancer screenings. and how about the $540 million that is cut from the small business administration loan program? so critical to our small businesses and job creation. 600,000 children and -- are losing their nutrition assistance because of the
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sequester. so let's all agree, the sequester is bad and we need to stop it. but why not do it in the right way, which is to sit down with the president, make sure we can get the deficit reduction that the sequester is bringing in a better way? he's offering that. he's offering a balanced plan. but all of these cries about, oh, they're cutting this, that and the other, it's all bad. sequester is not the way to budget or to govern. but we have one week to keep this government open. the house has told us, don't start with these series of amendments or we're never going to be able to keep the government open. so let's do our work, keep this as clean as we can, and let's make sure we all listen to our president, who was reelected in a huge victory.
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when he said he wanted to move us toward balance with a balanced plan. cuts in spending and new revenues. and, by the way, i have to say, patty murray's budget, the democratic budget, does that. so i am very pleased that we're moving toward keeping this government open. that's a basic thing we have to do. keep this simple and move on. well, mr. president, as you know, i'm the chairman of the environmental protectioenvironms committee, and it is a joy for me to have that job, really, truly. because my whole life i've cared about environment and i've cared about infrastructure. and the way the senate works, they put those two together. so not only do i get to talk about clean air and clean water and safe drinking water and cleaning up superfund sites and protecting the health of our families, but i also get to talk about jobs, jobs, jobs that are created when we build roads and
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bridges and highways. and water systems. but there is something that does not bring us together on that committee and that's the issue of climate change. and so what i've decided to do is to come down to the floor every monday that it's possible for me to do it, and the floor is available, to talk just a few minutes about the devastating consequences of unchecked climate disruption. and i want to discuss and put into the record every week the latest scientific information. on march 4, i started these talks and i talked about a front-page story in the "usa today" that spotlighted the impacts of climate change unfolding around us. the story is the first in a yearlong series called "why you should sweat climate change." and it described how climate disruption is happening all around us. last week, i discussed a report
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entitled "the 2013 high-risk list." that was a g.a.o. study, a government accountability study, that said climate disruption is leading to intense weather events, like superstorm sandy, and they threaten our nation. and the finances of our nation. plus, i told colleagues of an oregon state study which appeared in "scientific american" which said that we have had the warmest decade in over 11,000 years. the warmest decade in over 11,000 years. not 11 years. not 1,100 years. 11,000 years. so earth to my republican colleagues. please wake up to this fact and let's do something about it. well, today i want to talk about the impact of unchecked climate
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change on the health of our people. according to dr. cecil wilson -- and let's look at this -- former president of the a.m.a., the american medical association, he says "the scientific evidence clearly indicates that our climate is changing. air pollution is increasing. weather is becoming more extreme. and with these changes come public health consequences." and that is why -- that is why our president made a finding that there actually is a danger to public health. it's called an endangerment finding for a reason. it is putting our people in danger. wake up, colleagues. please wake up before it's too late. the fact is the bush administration found -- we got this through documentation, that climate change was a threat. the c.i.a. has found that
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climate change is a threat. the defense establishment has found that climate change is a threat. the only place that doesn't seem to get excited about it is right here in a bipartisan way in the u.s. senate. we know, again, temperatures are continuing to increase. the draft national climate assessment january 11, 2013, said heat caused by climate disruption is especially harmful to our children. now, i want to talk to colleagues who might just be listening -- they might not be because it is 7:20 at night. but if they are, you all say you want to protect our kids. you all love your children and your grandchildren and your nieces and your nephews. according to the american academy of pediatrics committee -- and i think we have a chart on that -- anticipated direct health consequences of
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climate change include injury and death from extreme weather events and natural disasters, increases in air pollution-related illness, and more heat-related potentially fatal illness. within all of these categories, children have increased vulnerability compared with other groups." again i say to my colleagues, if we were sent here to do anything, it's to protect the health and safety of our children, for goodness' sakes. and they are one of the most vulnerable groups. if we don't act on climate change. if that doesn't move you, i say to my friends what about the elderly? they are particularly vulnerable. and this is from the draft national climate assessment. "older people are at much higher risk of dying during extreme heat events. preexisting health conditions also make the elderly
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susceptible to cardiac and respiratory impacts of air pollution and to more severe consequences from infectious diseases." so if i didn't touch your heart with your kids and your grandkids, how about your grandmas, grandpas, your great grandmas, your great grandpas, because they also are terribly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. lawrence koxstein, university of miami professor who studies the effect of heat on health, says climate change is the silent killer. heat can cause fatalities among even the fittest. he says it is a silent killer. this man knows because he studies the impact of heat on our health. so let's not be silent about this here. maybe climate change is a silent
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killer, but we can't be silent in the face of the information we have. the warming planet can cause many other serious health problems that are harmful to our families. scientists predict they'll get worse. scientists believe it will only get worse. listen to what they say. "heat waves are also associated with increased hospital admissions for cardiovascular, kidney and respiratory disorders. extreme summer heats is increasing in the u.s. and climate projections indicate extreme heat event will be much more frequent and intense in coming decades." is this the future we want for our people? increased hospital admissions for cardiovascular, kidney and r.e.s. -- and respiratory disorders? i think not. but, boy, part of me thinks so. i can't seem to get anybody excited about this in the united states senate.
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you might ask me why? and i have my theories. there's a lot of power on the other side. there's a lot of power on the other side. people who don't want to move off coal, people who don't want to move off oil. there's a lot of power on the other side. the increase in temperatures can lead to respiratory illnesses associated with air pollution such as asthma. have you ever seen a child with asthma gasping for breath? i say to my colleagues, asthma is a leading cause of hospital admissions for kids in school. and i go around, i visit the schools, and i ask a simple question: how many of you kids here have asthma or know someone with asthma? almost 50% of the room hands up. if you saw a child gasping for
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air on the street, you would hold them close, you would calm them down, you would get them oxygen. you would do everything in your power. you would call 911. you'd take them to the hospital. you'd sit by their side. you'd hold their hand. you'd nurse them back to health. we have a situation, folks, that climate disruption is going to bring us more cases of asthma. let's not stand with the giant polluters here. let's move to clean energy. let's clean up our act. let's save our children. save our grandparents. we're not talking about a remote possibility sometime in the near future. climate disruption is here. it's happening before our eyes. more american children are getting asthma and allergies. more seniors are suffering from heat strokes. let me tell you about what's happening in new york right now. we're seeing indications that
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extreme weather events like superstorm sandy are linked to health problems. do you know they've already given a name to a cough that has developed in that part of the country, locally known as the rockaway cough because it's in rockaway. the rockaways peninsula on long island, new york, was devastated by sandy. lives were lost. homes and businesses were destroyed. and now local residents are experiencing health problems from the flooding. coughing, it's a common symptom that health officials said could come from mold or the haze of dust and sand kicked up by the storm and demolition. if you listened to governor cuomo, what he said was these so-called 100-year storms are seen all the time. i say to my colleagues wake up
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to the truth. look out the window. figure it out. look at this. is this what we want to see in our country? i was talking to senator warner about what happened recently. i was shocked to see houses in massachusetts on the beach, beautiful homes being totally razed and taken away because the ocean is moving so close, they can't stay there. it's happening before our eyes right here. haze and dust and sand kicked up by the storm and democrat hraeugss. the -- and demolitions. the air in the rockaways are so full of particles that the traffic police wear masks. though many recovery workers do not, and that worries people who recall the fallout of another
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disaster. now another real threat that we're seeing more and more in the west, wildfires. wildfires smoke contains dangerous compounds. why do we see these? the droughts that are coming. smoke exposure increases respiratory and cardiovascular problems, bronchitis, chest pain, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, respiratory infections and medical visits for lung illnesses has long been associated with hundreds of thousands of global deaths annually. so we know that that's the bad news. now if i stopped here, i wouldn't sleep very well tonight having gone through all of this. but there's good news. we can take steps now to address climate change, and those steps will benefit public health. we have an opportunity to turn this crisis into a win-win
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situation. when we reduce carbon pollution from power plants to address climate disruption, we reduce dangerous air pollutants like soot and toxic metals that are harmful to our health. and here's a chart: policies and other strategies intended to reduce carbon pollution and mitigate climate change can often have independent influences on human health. for example, when you reduce carbon emissions, you reduce air pollutants like particles and sulfur dioxide. and we call that cobenefits, mr. president. when you go after one kind of pollution -- carbon pollution -- you get the cobenefits of going after the soot, the small particles that lodge in the lungs of our vulnerable. so we know when we reduce carbon emissions, we reduce those small particles and sulfur dioxide. now here's the other good news. as we move away from the very
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dirty, i would say, you know, power sources of what i hope will be the past, and we move toward clean energy, we help our families' budgets because when we move away from polluting automobiles -- and i drive a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid car. and i've got to tell you, it's pretty amazing. i get the first 12 miles on electricity. and if i do a few chores and i come in and plug in the car again. and then when i go past the 12 miles, it goes to a hybrid, which is part gas, part electric. so overall i'm getting about 150 miles to the gallon. you know what? that feels pretty good when you don't have to stop and fill up your car all the time and get a sweat because of what it costs to fill up that car. we're moving, with the help of president obama and this senate -- and i have to compliment my colleague senator feinstein and my former
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colleague senator snowe who in a bipartisan way moved us toward fuel efficiency. and this president helped us and led the way. and we are moving up toward 50 miles per gallon fuel efficiency, and that is going to really help us. but we have to do more. we have to do more because the health costs associated with climate change are heartbreaking and expensive. taking steps to reduce carbon pollution will lower our doctors' bills. when we don't have kids wheezing and gasping for air. the evidence is clear, climate change is a public health threat. now we have moved before when we've seen threats to public health. we did it on cigarettes. i was here when the congress voted to ban smoking on airplanes. let me tell you, that was a hard vote. we had all the money of the cigarette tobacco companies against us. and i want to compliment
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senators lautenberg and durbin. senator durbin was in the house. senator lautenberg -- this is a long time ago. but i can tell you what it was like, because i do so much travel across the country. mr. president, when i get off the plane where there was smoking and you wreaked of smoke. you felt it all over. and you certainly were breathing it in. it was unhealthful. and they said it will never happen. never ban smoking on the airlines. but guess what? we did the right thing. now, some people say, how do you know that human activity and the kinds of power we use, the dirty oil and the coal is causing this? let me tell you how i know. 98% of the scientists tell me so. and people say, well, what if they're wrong. 98% of the scientists agree that human activity is causing this
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climate disruption. if you stand with the 2%, you're standing with the 2% who said that smoking never caused lung cancer. i mean, i would say to you, mr. president, if you or i went to the doctor and the doctor looked at us and said, you know, there's a 98% chance if you don't change your eating habits or your smoking habits, you're going to diane early death -- die an early death. you'd say, 98% chance? okay, i'll change my ways. well, 98% of the scientists are telling us to change our ways when it comes to carbon pollution. and how do you do that, mr. president, in a way that is smart? we have several bills to put a price on carbon. we have the sanders-boxer bill. we have the white house bill. there will be other bills. once you put a price on carbon, it makes sense because you're
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factoring in the true cost of carbon pollution, which i just explained to you is enormous. public health alone, economics related to superstorms and the rest. so we need to put a price on carbon. and what bernie sanders and i do is we take the funds that come in from that and we give it right back to the people and say here's a check. and now you can pay for your new clean energy. it's kind of a capping the carbon and giving a dividend to the people. and with the rest of the money, we lower the deficit. with the rest of the money, we invest in solar rooftops arcs little -- rooftops, a little bit in transportation. it's the way to go. it's the way to go. now some say wait. some say wait. we can't wait. we wasted eight long years when
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george w. bush was president. you know why, mr. president? he said that carbon pollution wasn't covered in the clean air act. well, all you had to do was read the clean air act. i'm not an attorney, but it's right there. right there. it says in essence, here are the following pollutants that are covered, and it listed greenhouse gas emissions. but, oh no, we had to take it all the way -- he took it all the way to the supreme court and wasted eight long years while the problem gets worse and worse. so here's the deal. here's a quote. "washington school of public health. university of washington. dr. howard frumkin says in public health when faced with threats to entire populations, we act. for infectious diseases we vaccinate. if 98% of the doctors and scientists say vaccinate to prevent illness, there's always 2 % who are going to say don't do it. but we go with 98%.
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we vaccinate. for lung cancer, we ban smoking. we didn't stand with the doctors who were paid off by big tobacco. we stood with the doctors who had an independent judgment. and we banned smoking on airplanes and in close quarters and all the other places, and buildings, government buildings. for injuries, we installed seat belts and air bags and -- another big battle. the auto company said we don't want to spend the money installing air bags or seat belts. well, we said we have to do it. and you know what? it's worth the cost. for obesity, we promote healthier activity and healthy eating. the first lady has taken this on as a cause and we're starting to see a change. we have a long way to go. why do that? because we know the connection between obesity and diabetes and
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heart disease and stroke. so even though it's a difficult issue, we've tackled it. and for climate change, he says, we need to act and we surely do. so, mr. president, i'm talking really to pretty much an empty chamber but i'm glad you're there. and i feel a few people are watching. it's good. but there are a few of us here who are determined to keep on bringing the facts to the floor of the senate. you know, everyone has a right to act or not act. but i believe we need to make the record now. because when my grandchildren grow up, i want them to look back and said, wow, that was great what grandma's generation did; they took care of this issue. i don't want them to look back and say, "what were they thinking? what was wrong with them? why didn't they act when they could have made a difference?"
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and so next week i'll be back. i'll be talking about national security threats. this is one of the biggest national security threats we face. that doesn't come from me, that comes from the pentagon. it comes from the c.i.a. it comes from the national security team. so we can just close our eyes to this, we can wish it goes away; it's not going away. but we can ease the pain of climate disruption by moving to clean energy, energy efficiency. and we will face a win-win as we eventually have better public health, save money, and save the planet. thank you very much, mr. president. i yield the floor and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: can consent the call of the quorum be terminated. i ask unanimous consent that we proceed to a period of morning business, senators allowed to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration of s. res. 66. and that we proceed to that matter. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 66, designating the first week of april, 2013, as national asbestos awareness week. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. reid: mr. president, this is an important, a very important resolution.
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thousands and thousands of people died from asbestos exposure. it's a dread product. people have been exposed to it can get sick 30, 40, 50 years later. people who wash someone else's clothes who works with asbestos can get sick and die. so i'm glad, i appreciate very much senator baucus and the others who sponsored this legislation. i now ask consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table with no spur veennointervening action or deb. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to s. res. 79. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 979, supportg the goals and ideals of take our daughters and sons to workday. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to,
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the motion to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its be business todayt adjourn until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, march 19. following the prayer and pledge, the mourning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. following any leader remarks, the senate resume consideration of h.r. 33. further, the time during adjournment, recess, morning business count pos postcloture n the substitute amendment to h.r. 933. finally, the senate recess from 12:30 to until 2:15 p.m. tomorrow to allow for weekly caucus meetings. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: mr. president, it's my sincere hope that we can reach an agreement to complete action on the continuing appropriations bill on tuesday so we can begin consideration of the budget resolution. remember, the easter recess is staring us in the face. we have to get this done before we leave. and if it spills over into next
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week, in spite of the fact that we have passover starting on monday, we are going to complete our work in this body before the easter recess. so there be no further business, i ask the senate adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.
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>> paul prozac rights for cq roll call. what do expecting you expecting to hear the debate when house budget committee chair paul ryan's budget plan comes up this week? >> i'm expecting to hear a very spirited debate in both the senate and the house. you will have republicans and democrats on very different sides of what should be done. >> paul ryan's budget, how does it compare to the democrats proposal? >> it cut spending a lot more and it reduces the deficit a lot more. brian's budget would reduce the deficit almost $6 trillion in 10 years. the marie budget would reduce it a little under $2 trillion in 10 years. >> what other groups are planning to offer their own budget plan and what are those plans likely to focus on? >> again the house, the top
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democrat on the house budget committee will introduce a democratic alternative and actually it will be similar to patty murray's democratic budget in the senate. both of those plans will have tax increases as well as some spending cuts and neither of them would balance the budget in 10 years. they are less aggressive as far as deficit reduction and in the house the congressional black caucus and professional caucus will be introducing budgets and it's possible that a version of the ryan budget could be introduced in the senate. >> the senate is expected to work on its own budget. what is likely to happen in the senate this week? >> well, it will be democrats making the case for the patty murray budget and they may have to convince that there could be some democratic senators that might not support that budget so they will have to sell it to
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democratic senators as well as republicans but now republicans are likely to vote for the budget. republicans will be calling for more spending cuts, no tax increase, balancing the budget sinner and that kind of thing. >> republicans say this be the first time in four years that senate democrats have agreed to put forward a plan. why is this year different? >> well, there are a number of different things. one is there is a lot that says members of congress will not get paid unless they have budget resolution. on the other thing is the last two years the debt limit law basically established discretionary spending amounts so you technically did not need a budget in the last couple of years. but also democrats in the senate have just been getting hammered for not introducing a budget resolution and they finally decided that it's in their
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interest to have a plan out this year. >> so with all this work on these various budget proposals what is the endgame? what is next? >> well, there will probably be some attempt to get a compromise between a house and the senate budget resolutions. very unlikely that they will be able to compromise because they are so far apart. but there are some commonalities in these budgets even though there are great differences between them, and so these two plans could be the beginning of a bigger agreement over the next several months. the debt ceiling will have to be raised sometime this summer and these plans could become part of a larger plan to raise the debt ceiling. >> paul krawzak writes for cq roll call. thanks for talking with us today. >> thank you.
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>> president obama officially nominated thomas perez to be his next labor secretary. mr. peres has been in the sub rights division since 2000 currently serves as the assistant attorney general for civil rights. he is the sum of a dominican immigrant in the first hispanic to be named to president obama second term cabinet. the ceremony to case in the white house geese room this morning. here is a look. [background sounds] >> ladies and gentlemen the president of the united states accompanied by thomas perez. [applause]
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[applause] >> thank you. [applause] everybody have a seat. have a seat. as i have set before my top priority as president is doing everything we need to do to make sure that we are growing our economy and that we are strengthening our middle class. and as i said said in my state of the union address last month, every day we should be asking ourselves three questions. one, how do we make sure america is a magnet for good jobs? number two how do we equip people with the skills they need to get those jobs and number three, how do we make sure that hard work actually pays off with a decent living. these are the challenges that
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i've instructed my team at the white house and by entire cabinet to focus on and a position that's instrumental to tackling these challenges is having an outstanding secretary of labor. so i want to begin by thanking hilda solis and her entire team. [applause] [applause] including at being secretary ben harris. [applause] for the outstanding work they have been doing the past four years. their efforts at the department of labor have given more young people a chance to learn new skills, more more returning a bessette had the chance to find a job and they have looked out for worker safety from construction sites to coalmines. they have stood up for worker's
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rights to organize, women's rights to get paid equally for the work that they do. they have done an extraordinary job fighting on behalf of working families. today i'm proud to nominate the leader to carry on the zipper tab is -- as america's next secretary of labor, tom perez. [applause] like so many americans tom knows what it's like to climb the ladder of opportunity. he is the son of dominican immigrants. he helped pay his way through college as a garbage collector and working at a warehouse. he won on to become the first lawyer and his family so his story reminds us of the promise that if you are willing to work hard it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or
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what your last name is, you can make it if you try. tom has been making protecting a promise for everybody because of his life. as a civil rights attorney, and a two senator ted kennedy, a member of the montgomery maryland county council, tom thought for a level playing field for hard-working responsibility warded and working families to get ahead. this is not the first time he is chosen to be a labor secretary either. we have got here today governor martin o'malley and martin appointed time as secretary of maryland's department of labor where he helped implement the country's first state-wide living wage laws because he understood that a minimum wage should be a wage that you can live on. in his current role as the head of the u.s. justice department's civil rights division, tom thought children pathways for everyone willing to contribute including people with disabilities lgbt americans and
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immigrants and he has helped settle some of the largest cases ever on behalf of families targeted by unfair mortgage lending. while he has tackled plenty of tough issues tom has also spent a career as a consensus builder. he has worked with ceos and labor leaders. he has worked with federal state and local government levels and throughout he understands that our economy works best when the middle class and those working to get into the middle class have the security they need on the job, a democratic voice in the workplace, everybody playing by the same set of rules. tom's knowledge and experience will make him an outstanding secretary of labor and there is plenty of work to do. we are going to have to work very hard to make sure that folks find jobs with good wages and good and the fits and we have got to make sure that our veterans who are returning home from iraq and afghanistan have a chance to put their incredible skills and leadership to work at home.
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we need to build an immigration system that works for every employee in every family and every business. i'm confident that tom will be able to work with some of -- economic growth but also make sure that growth is broad-based. he will be an integral part of our overall economic team. these are just a few of the many challengechallenge s working families out there are facing and where they need an advocate. tom is the right person for that job so i hope the senate will act swiftly to confirm tom so we can work together to address all these concerns. i want to thank not only tom but his wonderful family for agreeing to take on this new role and i've just heard tom has been coaching basketball, baseball and he doesn't claim to be a great coach. [laughter] he brings passion to it. over the next several months but
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it will be for good cause and i appreciate his family being willing to make those sacrifices as well. with that i would like to introduce my nominee to be her next secretary of labor. give him a chance to say a few words and again i urge the senate to confirm as quickly as possible mr. tom perez. [applause] [applause] [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you mr. president for your confidence in me. [speaking spanish] it is a remarkably humbling and exciting phenomenon to be here
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today. my parents taught my four siblings and me to work hard, get back to our committee and to make sure that the ladder of opportunity was there for those coming after us. over my career i have learned the true progress is possible if you keep an open mind, listen to all sides and focus on results. i look forward to taking these lessons with me if confirmed to my new role as secretary of the department of labor. as you well know our nation still faces critical economic challenges and it the department's mission is as important as ever. i'm confident that together with their partners and organize labor and the business communits communities republicans democrats and independents macrolike we can keep making progress for all working families. in the coming weeks as the confirmation process unfolds, i look forward to meeting with senators of both parties to discuss the labor department's key role in protecting and growing the middle class.
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i will close again mr. president by thanking you once again for this tremendous opportunity. [speaking spanish] i look forward to this opportunity to continue serving our nation. thank you so much. [applause] [applause] [applause] [applause] >> up next on "the communicators" this year's consumer electronicsho
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